The chairman of Walt Disney Co.'s movie studio stepped down Friday after less than three years on the job, in the wake of one of the studio's biggest flops to date.
In an email to employees Friday morning, Rich Ross said, "I no longer believe the Chairman role is the right professional fit for me."
Ross, whose departure ends a 15-year career at Disney, came to the movie studio job after a successful run heading the company's cable operation, the Disney Channel, which he helped reinvent with the creation of "tween"-oriented programs such as "Hannah Montana."
Ross's email didn't indicate that he was departing for another position, and a separate statement by Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger didn't detail any information regarding his replacement.
Ross's exit comes a month and a half after the disastrous opening of science-fiction epic "John Carter," on which Disney expects to lose $200 million. That film cost more than $250 million to make and another $100 million to market. As a result, the movie studio is expected to report an operating loss of between $80 million and $120 million for its fiscal second quarter, which ended March 31.
In January, amid the run-up to the release of "John Carter," studio marketing chief MT Carney left after less than two years in the job.
Ross called a meeting early Friday morning to inform studio President Alan Bergman and production head Sean Bailey of his departure, according to a people familiar with the matter. Iger also attended that meeting, these people said.
Bailey later addressed a group of about three dozen employees, telling them that there is no immediate plan regarding Ross's successor, these people said.
In a separate statement, Iger thanked Ross for "his countless contributions throughout his entire career at Disney, and expect he will have tremendous success in whatever he chooses to do next."
This story first appeared on WSJ.com.
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